ANHD’s New York Times Exclusive Shows Communities of Color Bear the Brunt as Landlords Sue Tenants for Rent They Can’t Pay

March 17, 2021

220,000 Tenants on the Brink and Counting

New York, NY – A total of 222,135 New York State tenants (and counting) have active cases in court and face eviction in May when the moratorium ends, according to a new ANHD analysis covered today in the New York Times. Landlords have taken 53,811 commercial and residential tenants across New York State to court for eviction since the COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020.

Landlords are filing evictions 3.6 times faster in zip codes with the highest rates of death from COVID-19. Residents of the zip codes hit hardest by COVID-19 are 68.2% people of color, compared to 29.2% of the neighborhoods hit least hard.

Landlords have filed 15,517 evictions in the zip codes with the highest death rates from COVID-19 (the top 25%) since the initial moratorium in March and 4,224 in the zip codes with the lowest death rates (the bottom 25%).

For an up-to-date count of active eviction cases across the state, see Right to Counsel NYC’s new Eviction Crisis Monitor developed in collaboration with ANHD,, and the Housing Data Coalition.

ANHD also found that landlords have sued 32,576 New York City households for $265,460,130 - an average of $8,150 - since the COVID-19 pandemic began. For comparison, Black and Latinx households only have an average of $1,500 in savings nationally. Landlords have sued 938 commercial tenants for an additional $68,903,439.

Click here to read ANHD’s full analysis.

“That eviction filings are happening 3.6 times more frequently in communities with higher COVID death rates and overwhelmingly in communities of color is no accident. We have been disinvesting from our BIPOC communities for centuries. We must acknowledge what the data clearly shows - that left unaddressed these inequities will continue to destabilize and plague our communities,” said Barika X. Williams, Executive Director at ANHD

“These numbers are shocking. Landlords are targeting tenants of color for eviction at astounding rates and suing them for impossible sums of money while they are simultaneously dying from COVID-19,” said Lucy Block, Research and Policy Associate at ANHD. “This analysis shows just how vast the discrepancies are and how immediately we need policy that remedies structural racism across the board.”

“Our Eviction Crisis Monitor clearly shows that the eviction crisis isn’t coming – it’s already here. The COVID-19 pandemic hit New York hard and Black and brown New Yorkers continue to shoulder the public health and economic impacts of the coronavirus,” said Malika Conner, Director of Organizing at the Right to Counsel NYC Coalition. “Despite the unprecedented scale of the crisis, landlords only stopped trying to evict tenants when the government made them. And they started suing tenants again as soon as they could. Letting the courts reopen without clearing the back rent, strengthening eviction protections, and ensuring a right to counsel for everyone, is akin to letting landlords dictate the future of the crisis. We can’t let that happen. We need our elected officials to act swiftly, before May 1st, to make sure New Yorkers can stay in their homes.”



About the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD):

ANHD builds community power to win affordable housing and thriving, equitable neighborhoods for all New Yorkers. As a member organization of community groups across New York City, we use research, advocacy, and grassroots organizing to support our members in their work to build equity and justice in their neighborhoods and city-wide.

ANHD values justice, equity and opportunity. We believe in the importance of movement-building that centers marginalized communities in our work. | Twitter & Instagram: @ANHDNYC | Facebook: @anhdny


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